While many struggle with weight gain over the holiday season, the YMCA offers a program to help individuals maintain or lose weight during a time when sweets, hearty meals and flowing drinks are just part of the Christmas cheer.
"The accountability is key for me," participant Jean Bieszk said in an e-mail to Patch. "Knowing I need to weigh in with someone after I committed to not gaining weight over the holidays is good motivator for me."
Wellness Program Manager Erica Richman said the Holiday Trimmings challenge is a Milwaukee Association-wide program that also raises money for the Y.
"The average American gains 5 pounds over the holidays, according to the New England Journal of Medicine," Richman said in an e-mail to Patch. "The average Holiday Participant will lose 2.9 lbs over the 6-week challenge, according to our statistics."
Bieszk, who said she loves a good competition, also looks at the program as a good way to start off the new year on a positive note.
"I had triplets 2 years ago, and I really want to take the weight off," she said. "I know losing weight over the holidays will be very difficult for me, but I definitely do not want to gain and start the new year with even more to lose."
Participation in the program is a minimum $10 donation, with all of the money going towards the Y's Annual Campaign, Richman said.
"In 2012, we had 115 members and staff participant and raised $1,370 at just the Feith Family YMCA alone," Richman said. "Across the Milwaukee Association of YMCAs, we raised over $10,000 in 2012, which is double what we raised in 2011."
Participants have a final weigh-in the week of Jan. 1 to Jan. 7, and earn raffle tickets for losing weight as well as maintaining weight. "Prizes included free month membership, free kit locker service for a month, free personal training, free TRX session, and a free photography session for Dawn Geis photography out of Fredonia donated to us by Dawn Geis," Richman said.